MUSINGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA CULT LEADER DYNAMICS: THE TOXIC PARENT

They’ve been saying this is the last time they’ll offer it, or they’re leaving the support group soon, or they just need to leave the modality or location behind altogether and move on for their own growth, maybe yours too, to pursue bigger things, to be billionaire abundant, to really change the world.

But they’ve been saying the same kind of things for years, and never have, not really.

It’s nearly always the “last training/initiation/session I’ll give” in this format or in this town, and/or now they’re “too busy” to finish the course or remain active in your ongoing support/practitioner group, even if you paid specifically for that (leaving an inner-circle delegate – a family member or long term confirmed-compliant-disciple – to deliver for them, or at least police the sinking ship), and/or they are somehow continually putting barriers in the way of being available, relatable and heaven forbid accountable.

And while they “truly long to connect with you”…they’re at pains to make it clear they don’t need you, they’re above any petty critiques, of course admin questions are beneath them, and you bet the absolutely-no-refunds-policy is only for your motivational benefit: you’re welcome.

But in the next moment they might flip that, ignore it all, drop into the spaces they vacated – for a limited time only – with a unique live download, an on-brand-new-message, a special gift or never-to-be-repeated offer “just for you.”

If they’re really good, they’ll practice looping back indirectly in response to your critiques or challenging questions (maybe in another group publicly, or via private message instead, anything but directly in the original channel of communication), perhaps having figured out how to weaponise their vulnerability, to show how, in the wings unseen by anyone relevant (or in tactical retreat from a cult leader more powerful than them!), that they’ve brilliant-stumbled upon a unique creation by deeply working their process (usually justifying the vilification of the most recently ostracised dissenters) and suddenly arrived at masterful wisdom (they copy’n’pasted and at least 10%-replaced-to-be-legal from some else) that once again proves their dominate position, offering it now as a gracious gift of instruction to you… “more details only available by paying for my new exclusive offer here (I’ve suffered to bring you these upgrades: you’re lucky to get it this cheap!)” … so that any critique you might have had (that was ignored before) is now demonstrated as obviously false and therefore can only be a mirror of you… so no more dialogue will be entered into (even though it never was)…it can’t possibly be justified now…. so it’s extra clear and validated: any dissent will NOT be tolerated! Thank you. Now you need to respectfully pay more to be healed of your issue.

But please remember, they do love you, and really want the best for you, and that’s why they just hope and pray you’ll find the strength to better yourself soon (please see recent generous offer of direct salvation to be delivered with personal attention on you, pay here). Because, remember, your experience of them is 100% your responsibility after all.

No matter the chaos swirling around them, and who they say are to blame for it, you can be sure it is never them in the present, or meaningfully recently, and somehow their charisma shines through it all, carrying you along with them. You’re on notice though: do not question or challenge their mirror ball of avoidance, deflection and shielding for their attacks…OR YOU WILL MISS OUT!!!! (or some aspiring foot solider might attack you, shame you, character assassinate you)… so stay safe, and soothe your cognitive dissonance, by keeping focus on the dazzling lights of possibility, and faithfully investing in each step on the never-ending-staircase up to their approval.

Of course they’re actually near always available for the brightest spot light (or the sexiest new blood on the scene), staying active in their main marketing efforts to lure more people in (pyramid schemes don’t build themselves!), freely pushing out freshly spiced opinions and latest fad positions, playing the polarising divide-and-conquer card (this is old/new, this is good/bad, this is healthy/toxic) NLP-primed-to-the-hilt (and pre-emptively disarming you by openly laughing about it and whatever other toxic tactics they want to get away with; black magic anyone?) and not just as some safety warning or fair-and-reasoned-market-differentiation but as a persistent hammering, a psychological borderline enforcement, right on the deeply rooted fear and greed pressure points that hijack your limbic system into subtle (or not so subtle!) trauma responses so you’re acting before you even know why… jeering or leering or cheering for more….. leaving your mind scrambling to justify it after the fact, without a real clue as to the dynamics in play, so you can only resort to whatever word-clothes they’ve left for you to cover the actions of your nakedly unresolved wounds with: and you’re grateful for that, your new learning. You’re on the path of healing, and you’ve paid dearly for it now. Henceforth you’re committed, it’s part of your brand too: defend or die (it feels).

Passionate engagement ensues… love or hate, in or out, you’re smart/awake/get-it and on the way up-and-in, or you’re projecting/triggered/crazy and on the way down-and-out … with extra attention points for you with each dissenter you help kick to the curb… but it is never enough, they never satisfy, you always want more, NEED more, just this one extra bit at least…. and you know exactly who is the only person who has it and can give it to you.

Except they won’t…. not fully, not ever… and sure as heck you can’t stay connected and also shine equally, let alone better!

Relating in this way, especially as a healer/coach/teacher of any kind, is embodying a toxic parent figure… most commonly it is the wounded father: sovereignly declarative, emotionally unavailable, erratically affirming, psychologically abusive… it is the classic Ambivalent Attachment Style played to trauma-hyped-perfection for manipulatively sustaining the connection…activating the unresolved wounding in others that draws forth the saviour projection (as mix of ideal-father and ideal-lover enticing you into the ever looping drama triangle) that consistently magnetises followers (what amazing social proof!): aka the father wound is seeking resolution, and the dark father figure plays (often consciously) to the most unconscious traumatised end of that wounding to keep the next like and comment coming, the next sexual favour being offered, and the next purchase getting banked: Ca-ching, the house always wins when daddy’s home!

Add in a layer of sexual repression to your upbringing, like many a modern wounded father story, and it’s down right sizzling…. unconscious trauma-porn that sucks on any unhealed wounds so fast, so completely, so mindblowingly, that you’re certain that THIS is who is good for you, you can feel the pull from deep within you, you know it in your guts: this is fated to be! They may even start showing up in your dreams! If that’s not spiritual and magical proof nothing is! RIGHT?!?!?!

Although note that, despite the overlap, playing to the parent-sexual-abuse niche requires additional skills, see my advanced neo-tantric trainings conducted in a non-extradition isolated-from-your-friends-and-family tropical location for more…It’s worth it because I’ll certify you as a healed expert able to emulate ME by the end of the retreat for sure!

Well, this play will pull you in to give you a chance to resolve that parental trauma… or you can save yourself a lot of time and energy, money and additional woundings, and turn and address the trauma directly.

So, how to spot such a game being afoot? If the above dynamics don’t spell it out clearly for you, check for a couple of things:
– Without feedback, backup! Are they regularly open to ongoing feedback? Do they openly support people who disagree with them?
– Without elders, there’s ego! Are they able to point to long term mentoring/teachers/therapists? Not just in books, or largely passive online courses, but in real world 1on1 relationships?

What other traits do you commonly see in the Toxic Parent mode of the Social Media celebrity cult leader?